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Help end HIV discrimination

DELGA were pleased to back Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP's campaign on this issue. She said at the time:

Background to the petition

Please join me in campaigning and lobbying the EU institutions to end a particular example of discrimination against people with HIV or AIDS, consisting of restrictions on travel to the United States which amount almost to a ban. I would be most grateful for your support for the petition below.

The EU is set to negotiate with the United States the extension of US visa waiver (visa-free travel) to the citizens of all EU countries instead of just some. But since 1993 the US government has denied visa waiver to people with HIV or AIDS and made the obtaining of any visa very difficult and laden with conditions.

As a Liberal Democrat MEP, together with colleagues in the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) group in the European Parliament, I believe this is discriminatory and lacking in any objective justification. I applaud those charities and campaign groups who have long protested about the unfairness. So let's try and do something about it, in parallel with reform moves underway in the US Congress.

The aim is to persuade the European Commission, governments of the 27 EU member states and MEPs that abolition of HIV/AIDS discrimination should be included in those EU visa negotiations with the United States. So do sign the petition today, and add your voice to the campaign to allow people with HIV or AIDs to lead lives free of unjustified discrimination:

Text of the petition

"We the undersigned petition the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU Council regarding fair treatment for EU citizens with HIV or AIDs in the US visa waiver programme.

We are profoundly concerned at the current unjustified discriminatory treatment of people living with HIV or AIDS by the US authorities, in denying them the visa-free travel enjoyed or envisaged by their EU compatriots and making the obtaining of a visa extremely difficult such that the restrictions amount in practice to an almost complete travel ban.

We assert that the refusal of visa waiver on grounds of HIV/AIDS has no objective justification since the European Commission and UNAIDS both confirm there is no public health rationale for restricting freedom of movement, and we believe that the travel ban therefore represents discriminatory treatment and a denial of human rights.

We maintain that people with HIV/AIDS are entitled to lead full lives without the exceptional and unfair burden of being required to publicly disclose their HIV/AIDS status as a condition of entry to the US, such that if they are positive, their status becomes a permanent part of their record placing them at further risk of discrimination;

We therefore demand that the EU includes in its negotiations with the United States authorities on the extension of visa waiver to the nationals of all 27 EU countries the inclusion of people with HIV/AIDS on the same basis as other EU citizens through the repeal of 1993 US statute withholding such travel rights."

Sign the petition here